There’s an good looking building at 1600 Germantown Ave., across from the vacant Gretz Brewery, that we believe was last used as a boarding house. Whether that’s true or not, we can say with total confidence that it won’t be used for anything ever again. If you visit this building (and you should do so quickly if you’d like to see it in one piece), you’ll quickly spy the demolition notice posted on one of the doors. Soon enough, this building will be no more.

Handsome building will get demoed
Demo notice

A few months ago, developers bought this building from its longtime owner, a church in the area. According to public record, the same church owns several vacant lots next door, located along this side of the 1600 block of Germantown Avenue. We noticed that the purchase price for the building at the corner seemed rather high, at $950K, so we decided to investigate. It turns out, the church not only sold the building at the corner, but they also sold the eight lots next door- public record just hasn’t been updated yet. Knowing this info, it actually feels like the developers that bought these properties got a pretty great deal.

Vacant lots next door
View from the north

With the developers getting their hands on nine contiguous lots with multi-family zoning, we assumed that an apartment building was in store, with a couple dozen units on a single consolidated lot. Turns out that’s not what’s happening here at all. Instead, the developers are keeping the lot lines the same and building individual structures. They’re constructing a five-unit building at the corner, six duplexes, and a pair of single-family homes, for a total of 19 units. Thinking about the project as a whole, we’re thinking that the developers will look to sell the individual units as condos, whereas in a single building a rental play would seem likelier. Alternately, it’s also possible that the developers might be going for rentals anyway and just trying to save on construction costs by building a bunch of small buildings. Either way, look for demolition sometime very soon and a bunch of construction on these long vacant lots sometime after.

And if we may whet your appetites, we’re hearing rumblings that something could finally be happening with the long vacant, blighted, former brewery across the street. Stay tuned for more info on that, sometime very soon.